Page images



New Elements in the

made known that the President would not | dered to that effect. The steamer Star of the order Anderson back to Moultrie. Having West, at New York, was commissioned Degot rid of Floyd, he found cember 31st, and, all the week succeeding, in Joseph Holt, a pure-mind- was taking in stores and munitions with ed adviser, whose patriot- which to sustain and strengthen the garrison. ism and energy at once seemed to change the whole current of affairs. General Dix, as Secretary of the Treasury, was equally patriotic and trusted. Mr. Toucey, Secretary of the Navy, if he did not enter with ardor upon the duty of resistance to the conspirators, still, being a Northern man, was not in league with them, and gave his casting vote on the side of his Government. Thus strengthened in his counsels, and encouraged by the indications of the people and 'State authorities of the entire North, Mr. Buchanan would have been worse than weak to have restored Anderson to certain destruction or disgrace by ordering him back to Moultrie.

[ocr errors]

On the 2d of January the President sent in the name of Wm. McIntyre, of Philadelphia, to be collector of revenue for the port and neighborhood of Charleston. Southern members, in this, saw the President's purpose to force South Carolina into submission to the Federal laws for the collection of duties, and of course resisted. With the aid of Southern Democrats, an adjournment was had,—thus refusing to consider the nomination. This "fillibustering was resorted to at every attempt to consider the appointment; and to a few Northern Democrats was the country indebted for that most direct collusion with treason, in tying the President's hands. Anticipating the failure of all propositions for a settlement before the Committee of Thirty-three, a caucus of the Senators and Representatives of the Border States alone was convened, at the earnest solicitations of Mr. Crittenden, Mr. Douglas, the President, General Cass, and others,

The Border State

Mr. Holt was given the War Department portfolio Dec. 31st. He had assumed its duties upon the resignation of Floyd, and with | such unmistakable evidences of fitness for the trust that his appoinment gave the loyal country much pleasure. The disloyal Senate refused to act upon his confirmation for many days, but the growing strength of public opinion towards resistance to, if not actual co-eminent citizens, then at Washington. It ercion of, the rebellious States, finally forced his recognition. General Winfield Scott was tendered the seat, at the earnest solicitation of the best friends of the Government, but the wise old warrior preferred to retain his command of the army, and declined the Cabinet appointment to serve his country in his own department. Mr. Holt very judiciously called the veteran into his counsels, and the country found that, with the mere shadow of an army, the two men were prepared for the threatened emergencies as far as their means at command would permit.

[blocks in formation]

held a session Saturday evening, Dec. 29th, and appointed a committee to name one member from each Border State, to sit as a joint committee for the purpose of considering propositions of compromise and adjustment. The following names were reported:— "Senator Crittenden, of Kentucky, Chairman; Messrs. Harris, of Maryland; Sherman, of Ohio; Nixon, of New Jersey; Salisbury, of Delaware; Gilmer, of North Carolina; Hatton, of Tennessee; Pettit, of Indiana; Harris, of Virginia; McClernand, of Illinois; Barrett, of Missouri; Sebastian, of Arkansas; Vandeveer, of Iowa; and Hale, of Pennsylvania."

[blocks in formation]

The Border State Committee's Propo


in any other that may hereafter be acquired, | protect the interest and preserve the Government of was considered. On Wednesday it was fur- the country, and that an appropriation be made to ther discussed and rejected. Mr. Nelson's defray the expenses of such Convention." resolutions, which Mr. Crittenden offered in The Border State Comthe Senate, were then taken up, and the Committee, appointed under mittee amended them, so as to declare it in- instructions from the cauexpedient for Congress to abolish Slavery in cus of Border State memthe dockyards, arsenals and the like, of the bers, decided, Friday evening (January 4th), United States, instead of being mandatory upon the following propositions: not to do so. A similar amendment concerning the District of Columbia was pending upon adjournment.

"First: Recommending a repeal of all the Personal Liberty bills.

"Second: That the Fugitive Slave law be amended

On Thursday it, for the preventing of kidnapping, and so as to pro

also, was adopted. The Committee then considered and adopted the following, offered by Mr. Bristow, of Kentucky:

[blocks in formation]


Resolved, That we recognize the justice and propriety of a faithful execution of the Constitution, and 'all' laws made in pursuance thereof, including those on the subject of fugitive slaves, or fugitives from service or labor, and discountenance all mobs, or hindrances to the execution of such laws, and that the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of the citizens of the seve ral States.

“Resolved, That we recognize no such conflicting elements in its composition, or sufficient cause, from any source, for a dissolution of this Government; that we were not sent here to destroy, but to sustain and harmonize the institutions of the country, and to see that equal justice is done to all parts of the same; and, finally, to perpetuate its existence, on terms of equality and justice to all the States."

These resolutions, having the assent of the Republicans, only repeated those previously introduced by Mr. Grimes, Mr. Seward, and others on the Committees.

vide for the equalization of the Commissioners' fee, &c.

"Third: That the Constitution be so amended as to prohibit any interference with Slavery in any of the States where it now exists.

"Fourth: That Congress shall not abolish Slavery in the Southern dockyards, arsenals, &c., nor in the District of Columbia, without the consent of Mary. land, and the consent of the inhabitants of the District, nor without compensation.

"Fifth: That Congress shall not interfere with the inter-State Slave trade.

[ocr errors]

Sixth: That there shall be a perpetual prohi bition of the African Slave trade.

"Seventh: That the line of 36 deg. 30 min., shall be run through all the existing Territory of the United States; that in all North of that line Slavery shall be prohibited, and that South of that line, neither Congress nor the Territorial Legis. lature shall hereafter pass any law abolishing, prohibiting, or in any manner interfering with African Slavery; and that when any Territory containing a sufficient population for one member of Congress in any area of 60,000 square miles, shall apply for admission as a State, it shall be admitted, with or without Slavery, as its Constitution may determine."

This scheme, though it favorably met every point raised by the Southern malcontents, did not secure their concurrence, in that it did not positively consign all the Territory South of 36 deg. 30 min., to Slavery. For that little alteration-that mere technicality of construction of the seventh proposition, they rejected all. No further evidence was want

Friday, being fast-day, by proclamation of the President, the Committee was not in session. Saturday, the following was introduced by Mr. Hamilton, of Texas : “Resolved, That this Committee do recommending to disclose the fact that the revolutionists

the passage of joint resolutions, respectfully recommending to the several States a General Convention in this city, on a day to be fixed by delegates chosen directly by the people in the several States, to con

sider of and advise such amendments to the Constitution of the United States as may be necessary to

did not desire a settlement or compromise. Here was an adjustment, conceding all the points at issue, meeting practically every demand made by Mr. Toombs, having the assent of the Border States, and yet it failed to satisfy the disunionists. The Republicans

[blocks in formation]

by those opposed to Mr. Lincoln, the crime will be theirs. When the Republicans took their position before the election, they knew they would have to meet this state of things, and now they should not put the burden upon posterity.

seeing that spirit, gave over every effort for | ministration of the Government is resisted adjustment. If it was necessary to make the Constitution itself recognize Slavery, to protect Slavery, by special enactment, they would not touch the question of Constitutional amendment. Mr. Crittenden visited the President, Saturday, to congratulate with him on the adoption, at length, of a settlement. The pure-hearted and patriotic statesman was yet to be undeceived as to the animus of the Southern Secessionists; his congratulations were premature.

Caucus of Republicans.

A general caucus of Republican members, Saturday, was called to especially consider that seventh section, which was the proposition of Mr. Hale, of Pennsylvania, on the Border Committee. Mr. Howard, of Michigan, objected to any "compromise" at all, as it would, of itself, be an acdnowledgment of wrong which did not exist. Mr. Lovejoy, of Maine, expressed similar sentiments. Speaking of the malcontents of the Slave States, and the proposed compromise of dividing the Territory between Freedom and Slavery to the Pacific, he said: "There never was a more causeless revolt since Lucifer led his cohorts of apostate angels against the throne of God; but I never heard that the Almighty proposed to compromise the matter by allowing the rebels to kindle the fires of hell south of the celestial meridian of thirty-six thirty."

Messrs. Hickman, and Stevens, of Pennsylvania, and Case of Indiana, opposed all compromises, in speeches couched in unmistakable language.

Mr. Pettit, of Indiana, from the Committee of Border States, said he had approved all the propositions in that Committee except the . one proposed by Mr. Hale, upon which he did not vote. He defended the Border States for their efforts to arrange matters.

Mr. Stanton, of Ohio, and Mr. Nixon, of New Jersey, expressed themselves in favor of some compromise.

The caucus unanimously agreed to press the business of the country in the House.

Mr. Dawes, of Massachusetts, moved that no vote be taken on any of the propositions, and that the caucus adjourn sine die, which was carried.

The caucus was fully attended, and was harmonious at the close against all compromise in view of the ultimatum made by the disunionists of a positive cession to Slavery of all territory south of 36 deg. 30 min. They resolved to stand by the Constitution as it is, and to abide the issue. A correspondent at the Capital, of a leading Republican (New York) journal, wrote:

"It may be stated that a majority of the Republicans would sustain the extension of the old Missouri line, pure and simple, through the present Ter

Mr. Sherman stated that, "as a member of the Committee from the Border States, he could neither vote for the proposition proposed by Mr. Hale, nor that proposed by Mr. Crittenden, to restore the Missouri line and extend it to the Pacific. He was also oppos-ritory as a final settlement, regarding it as a vindied to the compromise to prevent the abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia. While he did not wish to abolish it now, he was opposed to yielding up the right of Congress to do so at any future period."

Mr. Grow, of Pennsylvania, expressed himself decidedly opposed to all compromises. He asked what better platform the North or the South could have to stand upon than the Union, the Constitution and the laws? The Republican party has chosen a President in accordance with the forms of the Constitution, and is entitled to fair play. If his ad

cation of the principle upon which the party was
originally established. They will never concede the
recognition and protection of Slavery south of it,
either in the present or prospective territory."
It was announced in

Seizure of Forts.

Washington, January 2d,
that the State authorities
of Georgia had seized the forts Pulaski and
Jackson, at Savannah, and the United States
Arsenal at the same place.

The United States Arsenal at Mobile, and Fort Morgan, were seized, Jan. 4th. These seizures were expected by the State Depart

ment at Washington, and added not a little | lain, in the Representatives' Hall, was a most
to the gathering sentiment in Congress and eloquent invocation for the Union, for peace,
throughout the North against the revolution. and for fraternal conciliation. It impressed
These acts of violence, and appropriation of its hearers profoundly.
the unprotected property of the General Gov-
ernment, eventually awakened the spirit of
coercion in the breasts of men of all parties in
the Free States a spirit which, except for
such overt acts might forever have slumbered.*
January 4th was observed at Washington
with great solemnity, as a day of fasting and
prayer. A sermon, preached to an immense
audience, by Rev. Thomas Stockton, Chap-

* As frequent reference will be made to the forts of the South, we append, from Col. Totten's Report, a table of the Navy Yards and Forts built by the U. S. Government in the Southern States, together with their cost and armament:

Where located.

Fort McHenry, Baltimore...
*Ft. Carrol, Baltimore........
Ft. Delaware, Del. River, Del..
Ft. Madison, Annapolis, Md..
Ft. Severn, Maryland..

No. of


During the week troops were concentrated in Washington and vicinity to the number of about three hundred. Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, was occupied by one company of artillery, while another company was thrown into Fort Washington, on the Potomac, twelve miles below the Capital. The Navy Yard was placed under a strong guard, and every arrangement made for giving a decidedly warm reception" to the madmen who might attempt to seize the Government buildings. It seems incredible that the design of such a seizure, at that early moment of the revolution, was conceived and entertained; but, there can be no doubt of such a Guns. plot having been concocted. Even papers in Richmond advised the seizure. "Seizures" were, indeed, a potent agency in hastening the revolution. The people were not to be hurried, nor "precipitated" in their steady movement: public opinion was only developed slowly by ordinary processes. Therefore it was necessary, if the leaders would instantly create a fever for action, to seize Government property, and to urge, in justification, the "impending dangers of coercion." This is the key to the seizures at Pensacola, Savannah, Mobile, New Orleans, and, at a later day, in North Carolina and Virginia. A dispatch from Savannah, January 5th, said:

$146,000 74
135,000 159
539,000 151








43,000 25
75,000 54
923,000 150
80,000 14
51,000 25





Ft. Washington, Potomac River..... 575,000
Ft. Monroe, Old Pt. Comfort, Va....2,400,000
Ft. Calhoun, H. R'ds., Norfolk, Va..1,664,000
Ft. Macon, Beaufort, N. C.........
Ft. Johnson, Cape Fear, Wil., N. C..
Ft. Caswell, Oak Island, N. C......
Ft. Sumter, Charleston, S.C....
Castle Pinckney, Charleston, S. C...
Ft. Moultrie, Charleston, S. C......
Ft. Pulaski, Savannah, Ga......
Ft. Jackson, Savannah, Ga..
Ft. Marion, St. Augustine, Fla..

Ft. Taylor, Key West...
Ft. Jefferson, Tortugas...
Ft. Barancas, Pensacola..
Redoubt, Pensacola.....
Ft. Pickens, Pensacola....
Ft. McRea, Pensacola...

[blocks in formation]

Ft. St. Philip, Mouth Miss. River.... 143,000
Ft. Jackson, Mouth Miss. River..... 817,000
Ft. Pike, Rigolets, La....
Ft. Macomb, Chef Menteur, La..... 447,000 49
Ft. Livingston, Barrataria Bay, La.. 342,000 52
In addition to these there were incomplete works at
Ship Island, Mississippi River; Georgetown, S. C.;
Port Royal Roads, S. C.; Tybee Islands, Savannah;

"The pretext that was necessary to take the forts here because the people would rise against them is the merest subterfuge. The only trouble was, the people were not forward enough, and it was necessary to create an excitement in order to bring them to the proper pitch. The common talk of the town declares that all these movements are but preliminary to an attack upon the Federal Capital. Having a friendly country through which to march, and having possession of the forts and arsenals, they say that conquest would be easy. They rely on the supposed weakness of the Administration, and are elated with the ease with which they have gained the forts already taken."

If Washington were seized, the South would provide an army to retain it. This would and at Galveston, Brazos, Santiago, and Matagorda the Government de facto, or would, at least, render the proposed Southern Confederacy enable the conspirators to dictate their own

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]


terms to the North. The programme was a brilliant one, it must be confessed, and doubtless embodied the combined suggestions of Messrs. Toombs, Floyd, Governor Wise, Wigfall, and other Southern hot-heads. The President had no army-only a few companies at his immediate disposal; and, having no power to call out troops, twenty-five hundred Virginians and Marylanders were deemed amply sufficient to hold the Federal Capital. Congress should not be disturbed only it should act "circumspectly;" and, as for Mr. Lincoln-why, of course, he could not be inaugurated!

Plot to seize Washington.

All this performance was thwarted by Gen. Scott's and Sect'y Holt's judicious disposition of their small but effective force at hand, and by the action taken to place the District Military Companies and Militia in a condition for service. The spirit of loyalty grew stronger and, stronger, day by day, after January 1st; and if the seizure had been attempted, after that day, at the call of the President one hundred thousand men would have rushed, in arms, to the Capital, from New York and Pennsylvania alone. General Scott, at no period, we are assured, felt the city to be insecure-so well did he know his own strength and the resources available in event of an emergency.

To become possessed of the capital, was, beyond question, the dream of the revolutionists. The seizure of all the property of the Government in the Slave States was but preliminary to the forcible possession of the National Capital itself. The rapidity of action in the seceded States in the formation of a Provisional government - the sudden manner in which an army was brought into the field-demonstrate that the details of the revolution were matured by the leaders long before their movements became public. The filling of Southern Arsenals with rich stores of arms and munitions-the withdrawal of garrisons from Southern forts to send them far off on the Western plains-the depletion of the National treasury to the very verge of bankruptcy, so as to leave the incoming administration powerless from want of means— the disruption of the Charleston Democratic Convention, all were, unquestionably, parts


The Intrigue Exposed.

of the plot matured, in 1858, to initiate the long talked-of, the long prayed-for, the long perfected scheme of a Slave Confederacy. A very interesting document, bearing on this question of the intrigues of the managers of the movement, was given to the public through the columns of the National Intelligencer newspaper, in Washington, under date of January 9th. That journal said the communication came "from a distinguished citizen of the South, who formerly represented his State with great distinction in the popular branch of Congress. Temporarily sojourning in this city, he has become authentically informed of the facts recited in the letter, which he communicates under a sense of duty, and for the accuracy of which he makes himself responsible." The communication was as follows:

"WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 1861.

"I charge that on last Saturday night a caucus was held in this city by the Southern secession Senators from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi,

Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas. It was then and there resolved, in effect, to assume to themselves the political power of the South, and to control all polit ical and military operations for the present. They telegraphed to complete the plan of seizing forts, arsenals, and custom-houses, and advised the Conventions now in session, as soon as possible, to pass ordinances for immediate secession; but, in order to

thwart any operations of the Government here, the Conventions of the seceding States are to retain their representations in the Senate and the House.

"They also advised, ordered, or directed the as

sembling of a Convention of delegates from the seceding States at Montgomery, on the 13th of February. This can, of course, only be done by the revolutionary Conventions usurping the powers of the people, and sending delegates over whom they will lose all control in the establishment of a Provisional Government, which is the plan of the dictators.


This caucus also resolved to take the most effec

tual means to dragoon the Legislatures of Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Virginia into following the seceding States. Maryland is also to be influenced by such appeals to popular passion as have led to the revolutionary steps which promise a conflict with the State and Federal Governments in Texas.

[ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »